i’m home again … in ambon!

leaving beloved amboina past few decades, finally i am able to make my home coming. flabbergasted that i missed so many things as the years goes by. i used to live in secluded-tranquil-leafy bay overlooking the hills and this moment i have to “jump” on honking roads, blaring and blasting motorbikes and cars in the city centre.

sunset over leihitu peninsula (c) ukirsari 2012

i never denied how do i miss this tiny capital city of moluccas islands but sometimes i think it’s too far away to be visited from jakarta or london where i spend most of my time.

fandi-myself-marvy (c) c.m pattiasina 2011

this ambon home coming just happened as i start a project with a dearly friend, marvy, to make travel articles here. well, lots of childhood memories make our work sounds a pilgrimage. the boost energy also coming from him, who never tired to brings my memory back about the city of amboina.

my thoughts: the atmosphere of her heydays still remains. but in contrary … there’s a scar that may difficult to be forgotten.

dating back centuries ago, ambon used to be a strongest point for the portuguese, occupied by the britons instead of the dutch. this lovely tiny city had a very important role for these conquerors.  and now, after the series of instabilities I just can whispering her to stay strong and lovely. as I shared my life with her, as many people that I like very much are living in there. It will be great if everybody in there can live in harmony. In a city that I love so dearly and proudly stated: one of my hometown.

my most favourite destinations in this 2012 ambon visit:

* ambon war cemetery, kapaha, tantui

surrounded by leafy garden, provides dawn service in annual Australian Day and ANZAC day. it’s a real peaceful land. i’d ever been visited the allied forces cemetery in singapore, yangon and jakarta with nick. what i’d got from this place is the same serene atmosphere. thanks to the chief of cemetery, mr syamsuddin ohayouf who accompany me and mr ken young, a senior traveller from new zealand, a historical enthusiasm including the series of cemeteries from world war first and second. love to hear his latest visit to the gallipoli peninsula–something that nick and I love to discuss.

josef kam church (c) ukirsari 2012

* exploring the churches around city centre

as a city with its glorious past, ambon also designated as the central of christian mission in the eastern archipelago of indonesia. old churches still can be found around the city centre. my choice goes to maranatha church–where I attended the service–and josef kam church–for marvy. both of them are stunning with wonderful setting.

but something I had missed when I visited Josef kam’s. when I was a kid, there was an old churchyard and today it’s turn into bleakly building. fortunately, the tombstone of josef kam, the missionary who addressed respectfully as “rasul maluku” still remain in the tiny garden.

my most funny experience during this 2012 ambon visit:

– staying in a hotel with the hay wain in my room.

well, nothing wrong with the place, i mean if you just need quality sleeping and spend the rest of your day to go out from its room. my experience, when I wait for my childhood friends at the lobby, I’d got surrounded by sea of smoke. as a heavy non-smoker, i could not stand more than five minutes in there and of course, that’s not the staff’s fault. blame to the guests who smokes in the tiny-windowless-functional room!

apart of this situation, i found something hilarious in my executive double bed room. i found copy of the hay wain (john constable’s) as a wall decoration. how can be this hotel knows that i am indeed always in love the hay wain? it’s just like a little surprise for me, and when I tell nick on the phone, his comments just,  “oh dear, oh dear, oh dear!”

above at all … i feel so grateful that i can make this  amboina home coming. i am so happy when i realize i still can “speak the tongue”–an expression that i do really can talk as locals do–just like when i was a kid, as my second language after my mother tongue and english. and in contrary, I speak in my mother tongue with marvy and both of us feel so funny when we try to speak in creole ambonese.

and my journey in ambon come to an end. I remember some lyrics of an ambonese folksong: sio ambon, dengan teluk nan indah permai, apa tempo beta lihat engkau lagi ….

my mum used to humming this lyrics sometimes somehow after our family back to Java from stayed in years in the Mollucas. and it’s still repeated, up until her final resting day. and about my dad who passed away three years before my mum, I don’t know why both of us always talk in creole ambonese and bit English compared to stick with our mother tongue?

I remember very well, my dad loves to say “par beta” in my childhood time, to express what he likes to have shared with me. from my brown bread with butter, milk, sandwiches, noodles and newspaper. And I feel, this home coming to amboina is indeed  “par beta“. Pour moi! For me. I love you Mum and Dad in heaven! This home coming also dedicated for you. Par ale.  Deng bet jua!


11 thoughts on “i’m home again … in ambon!

    1. mate, there’s unwritten story that i should included but i prefer to say no. the riots that remain a huge-big scar. will never be forgotten by all of us ….
      but in the other side, i am so happy to see our old friends who enjoy their days. that’s more important for me (us) for now on.
      thanks a lot y’ mate!

  1. what is the phrase they say… you can never really come home again? sometimes our memories of a place no longer match the reality. but i am glad you still found traces of the old place you enjoyed as a kid @rie!

  2. yes nina, understand very well the phrase. it’s just like “never be the same again instead of nostalgic feeling”. indeed true … especially if the place has a scar after i left her. i am still grateful that i had a strong bonding with this city in the past. keep praying she will be better in the future. maraming salamat, you know me so well … so you can feel … how watery eyes i did to write a smallish bloggie about my childhood “home” ….

  3. i know. probably you walked through the city and keep saying “used to be it was…” i keep doing that when i go to visit my grandfather’s hometown where i spent most of my childhood summers. 🙂 but still, as you say, we must always keep hoping for the best.

    1. exactly, nina. i don’t mean to be ms. grumpy, but i found myself “it used to be this, that is not bleakly … this was supposed like … etc etc” *to be forgiven by times passes by*. it’s not in the phils, but strangely i feel a bit of the sense, when i am there in the past. now, i feel a bit eerie. strange … but can not hide that feeling!

  4. Dear Mrs. Ukirsari thanks for writing about ambon. I read your article in national geographic traveller, and i find your blog even make a deeper insight to me. i was born in ambon, raised in saparua until highschool, when conflict arise i got to move to java. Now i`m back here, give medical service for people in saparua island. I agree that this place have so much different from the way it used to be, i`m kinda missing the old maluku also. cheers from SAparua

    1. hi doc,
      it’s great to see (read) someone who lived nearby my beloved city of amboina. i feel the same: missing old ambon and always enjoy to share the moments with all people from wonderful archipelago of moluccas and those who speak in the same tongue as i am which is known as creole ambonese. one of my beloved friends experienced as you did during the conflict and he has to start over again to learn his mother tongue! you did great by give the service in saparua and wish to see you and family someday. i did blog-walking to yours and find out: that’s the land i love. once again, thank you very much 🙂

  5. Hello there,

    I enjoyed reading your post. I can only image how different London to Amboina would be. If you are still in Amboina, I was wondering if you would like to take part in my Phd project? http://www.snschallenger.org

    I am a PhD student at London College of Communication and I am working with people around the world to help rephotograph the voyage of HMS Challenger, a british ship that visited many islands throughout Indonesia during 1874. As with most rephotography projects, the aim is to illustrate change, but I am also interested in how people approach the challenge.

    Would you like to take part, or know anyone else who might like to help out/ Your efforts would be mentioned in my Phd thesis and therefore published. Plus your photographs may also be donated to the natural history museum in London.

    Please have a look around the site and let me know.(http://www.snschallenger.org)

    Best wishes


    1. dear mr mcleod,

      thank you so much for leaving a comment on my simply blog. i would love to give some contribution, but the problem is, i only spent few days in amboina — not a resident just like when i was a kid. but i’ll let you know if there’s some sources and pictures that might be useful for your project. it’s so fascinating to see your site, awesome! i remember the books i’d ever read about how the british came to the thousand islands of moluccas, also the story of nowadays’ new york related to run isle within banda archipelago. it’s amused me as a child and for now on 🙂 i’ll contact you later by e-mail address.

      best wishes,

  6. Wow I enjoy reading your article on Ambon. I am going to talk to my team to see if we can invite you to our annual Festival, Ambon Jazz Plus Festival in October 10-12 this year. Maybe you can come and write about the Festival. Its going to be our 5th anniversary. Anyway, my name is Andy Atis; and I am the Festival Director. I am considering very much to try to get you here somehow for the Festival…….cool job on the article…peace!!!

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